Following a defeat that leaves our participation in the Champions League knockout stage in doubt, Roberto Di Matteo discussed his team selection and an unfortunate opening goal that made the task very tough.

The manager, who was without Daniel Sturridge due to a hamstring injury, opted not start Fernando Torres and instead pushed Eden Hazard further forward with Juan Mata and Oscar for support. He also selected Cesar Azpilicueta on the right side of midfield.

Against the side he took on many times as a Lazio player, Di Matteo had to watch as Chelsea conceded two deflected efforts and a 90th-minute goal, giving Juventus a comfortable 3-0 win.

Shakhtar Donetsk have not yet secured top spot in the group but they have qualified for the knockout stages. Chelsea now need them to win at home against the Italian league leaders on the same night we must beat Nordsjaelland at the Bridge.

‘We wanted to reinforce our midfield a little bit and try to control their left side where Asamoah and Marchisio play,’ Di Matteo explained, ‘and also not to give a point of reference for their centre-backs with Hazard, Mata and Oscar interchanging positions and finding space.

‘Hazard had the first good chance and Oscar and Mata also found themselves with ones in front of the keeper. In transition I thought we were very dangerous and created some good opportunities.

‘But the first goal was unlucky, a big deflection, and Petr Cech got something on it but couldn’t quite save it. In crucial, tight games the first goal is often decisive.

‘My conviction was 100 per cent to go for this team and it did create some problems for Juventus. The second goal was a deflection as well but after the first goal we had to take a few more risks to get into the game again.’

On chasing the game…
‘Credit to Juventus, they are very strong at home and put us under alot of pressure and so we found it difficult in the second half, more than the first half. After the second goal we had to open up and that made it quite hard for us, it allowed them more space.’

On the mood after the game…
‘There is big disappointment, it is a difficult evening for us, the team and the club, and there was a lot of reflection.

‘I am responsible for the result and the performance and it is a negative evening for us. I selected a team that I was convinced was the right team to win or at least take a draw so the blame belongs to me.’

On the final group games to come…
‘While there is hope you still try and who says Juventus are not going to lose to Shakhtar Donetsk. We just have to make sure we win our last game and 10 points is usually enough. Sometimes it is not but many times it is enough to qualify.’


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